Wednesday 30 September 1998
East opened Two Hearts, showing opening values with hearts and a minor. West responded Three Clubs (some sort of relay?) and, in a (not unsurprisingly) undiscussed situation, Gordon doubled. East bid Three Diamonds; West jumped to Four Hearts; North doubled again.
With an unattractive choice of bids, Boris tried Four Spades with the South cards and West decided to double. He was right in a sense - Four Spades doubled would have failed by a substantial margin - but Boris now retreated to Five Clubs and West doubled again.
West led a heart and, as he displayed dummy, Irving remarked that he did not altogether object to his partners first "suit".
You can guess what happened - dummy ruffed and a trump went to West's ace. Convinced that South held four spades - after all, he had bid the suit - West exited passively with a spade, reasoning that if South held #Jx it would be necessary to wait for the two defensive tricks in the suit.
It did not work out like that, for declarer held only three spades and, after the missing trump had been drawn, one of South's losing diamonds went away on the spades.
However, even if Five Clubs had failed, it would still have scored well for East-West would have made 11 tricks in their heart contract.
East-West game; dealer East
4A K J 10
#K 6 2
2K 9 7 4 3 2
48 6 4 3 47 2
!K 7 6 3 !A Q J 8 4
#Q 10 7 4 #A J 9 3
2A 210 8
4Q 9 5
!10 9 3 2
2Q J 6 5
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